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Ben Lomond

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The most southerly Munro and perhaps the third or fourth most popular mountain in Scotland. It's position, close to Scotland's largest conurbation and its closeness to Loch Lomond have made it so. It's name, beacon hill, probably points to its commanding position as being important for early warnings of Viking and other war raids. These warriors actually sailed up Loch Long, dragged their longships over the pass between Arrochar and Tarbet, then sailed with a flourish down Loch Lomond, striking fear into native hearts.

This walk can be made as a circuit, taking in Ben Lomond's westerly spur of Ptarmigan, or as a more straightforward up and down route avoiding all difficulties. Either way start at the car park just past Rowardennan Hotel. Notice boards provide local information and the path starts just beyond them and a public toilet, going north-east through woods. A brief section up rocky steps leads to open ground and the grassy slopes of the south ridge.

So popular is Ben Lomond that path work had to carried out, particularly on the exposed, middle section of track up Sron Aonaich. This has much improved things and means much less mud being carried off the hill and into your kitchens! This section soon leads to the upper summit cone of the mountain, where the path jigs over more rocky ground leading to the summit ridge. All too short, this fine wee ridge has a steep drop into the north corrie, where some short cliffs have provided some winter climbs. A few more tiny ups and downs and the well-placed summit is gained.

To descend, either take the same route back or for the more adventurous, drop down the north-west ridge of the hill, easy scrambling initially, to bend back south-west along the broad ridge leading to Ptarmigan (731m). Continue south along the crest or just to its west, before dropping more steeply alongside a burn which leads back to the road just north of Ardess, with about one more kilometre to go to gain the car park.


Maps: OS Sheet 56 'Loch Lomond & Inveraray'
Distance: 12 km (11 km via Ptarmigan)
Ascent: 940m (c. 1010m via Ptarmigan)
Time: 4.5 hours
Food & Drink: Rowardennan is temptingly close at hand, while a few kilometres further south Drymen also has several hotels. I have a feeling that on elevation to a National Park amenities may improve dramatically!


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